How Women in Remote and Rural First Nation Communities are Using Information and Communication Technologies (ICT)

Penny Carpenter, Kerri Gibson, Crystal Kakekaspan, Susan O’Donnell

Abstract


First Nations women have a strong role guiding the success of their family and their community. In the past, women nurtured their family, ensuring their food and safety. These responsibilities are still true today with the added challenges and opportunities of modern day life. In Northern Ontario, many remote and rural First Nation communities are connected to integral services via broadband. The current study explores how First Nations women are using information and communication technology (ICT) and if the technology can address some of their challenges and open up new opportunities. Two hundred and thirty one women living in remote and rural First Nation communities in Northern Ontario completed an online survey, sharing their thoughts and experiences with regard to: ICT use in daily life, ICT for health and wellness, ICT for cultural preservation, and what is needed to support their effective use of ICT. The findings suggest that the women in these remote communities are active users of ICT, using the internet for frequent communication with people living in their own communities along with other communities and elsewhere in Canada. The women are also familiar with telemedicine, use the internet in a variety of ways to preserve their culture, and identified many strategies for supporting their effective use of ICT. Finally, we explore a case-study of how women in Slate Falls First Nation are using ICT.

Keywords


First Nation; communities; remote; information and communication technology; social media; women; gender

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The Journal of Rural and Community Development is supported by SSHRC.

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